SEEK’s novel drug comprises a selective oestrogen-receptor modulator (SERM) that is chemically linked to a toxin. This drug is selectively modified to preferentially target cancerous breast cells and the oestrogen receptors in those cells. Both the SERM and toxin have been previously clinically approved.
The growth of oestrogen receptor positive tumours is fuelled by oestrogen and 60% of patients with breast cancer are ER +.
These protein molecules occur inside cells and are targets for oestrogen action. Pre-clinical data has shown that, unlike currently used SERMs (e.g. tamoxifene or raloxifene) which target and block the action of oestrogen in ER + breast cells (i.e. stop growth), SEEK’s drug blocks both the action of oestrogen in the ER + breast cells and destroys preferentially the breast cancer cells.
More than 1.1 million cases of breast cancer are now diagnosed across the world each year, compared with about 500,000 cases in 1975. This is mostly attributed to the increased life-expectancy of women worldwide, together with growing population.